Arise Virtual Solutions is a well known virtual call center company that is often mentioned in the media as a legit work-at-home opportunity. And while I would not go as far to call Arise an out-and-out work at home scam because its sole purpose is not to defraud people, other call center jobs may be better money-making opportunities.
Arise agents absorb business costs--in the form of training and other ongoing fees--that are always paid by a company that hires employment call center positions and are usually paid for by companies that hire independent contractors. For the agent, investing in these cost upfront makes Arise a riskier business proposition. And paying fees to work at home companies is a red flag when it comes to avoiding work at home scams. If you do decide to work for Arise, carefully review all its policies before paying anything.
What is a Virtual Call Center?Most other virtual (or home) call centers either hire people as independent contractors or as telecommuting employees. Either way, agents are usually expected to provide their own home office equipment and in a few cases, companies might ask workers to cover the one-time cost of a background and credit check (though this is not standard). However, most companies pay the cost of training (and, in fact, pay their agents while they are trained). And while many companies do require that agents are independent contractors (as opposed to employees), they are not usually required to become corporations, as Arise requires.
What is Arise?Based in Miramar, FL, Arise Virtual Solutions has been around for more than a decade. It uses virtual call centers to outsource for its clients. The types of work include technical support, sales, and customer service. Arise requires its agents to become Virtual Service Corporations (VSC), which means agents must become incorporated in their home state and pay Arise for the training required to work for its clients.
How Does Arise Work?Even finding out exactly how Arise works is fairly complicated process. Arise's FAQ page only covers the basics. In order to become an Arise agent, you must set up your own corporation in your state, which can cost anywhere from $55-$400. And then you must pay $99 for the initial training for Arise. This is in addition to any cost you incur setting up dedicated phone line (separate from your home line) and Internet access.
However, once you are established as an Arise "Virtual Service Corporation" you must pay for specific training for any clients for which you work. These range from $50-$225. And then Arise charges its agents a service fee of $19.75 two times a month. Here are the basic steps to getting started at Arise:
- Apply online. Must be age 18.
- Take an online skills assessment. If you do not pass any part of the assessment, you must wait three months to apply again.
- If accepted, pay for a criminal background check ($11-$26).
- With a satisfactory background check, complete “Arise basic certification program,” which costs $99 and takes 20 hours your time.
- Establish a Virtual Service Corporation. This means completing the processes for incorporation in your state. If you have the legal savvy to establish a corporation without legal representation, this could cost anywhere from $55 to more than $400, depending on your state. However, if you need legal help, it will cost more. Also be aware many states charge annual fees and taxes to corporations that they do not charge to independent contractors.
- Sign contract with Arise.
- Set up a home office. Arise’s requirement are fairly typical of most home call center office requirements. Costs for this run about $50 a month for a separate phone line and $50 a month for Internet access plus any installation fees and equipment costs.
- Apply to enroll in client specific certification. If accepted into a certification program, pay $50-$225 for the program, which lasts from two days to several weeks.
- Complete training; begin working, assuming there are available positions.
The Bottom LineThe initial outlay of time and money is large, and the ongoing costs are significant. And while you may make $10-$14 per hour, there is no guarantee that you will get the hours you need to recoup those costs.
At an absolute minimum, Arise call center agents must outlay more $200 (but Arise put the average at $400-$600) and more than 20 hours of time before making a dime.
Like other virtual call centers, compensation is usually a fixed rate – which could be by call, by minute, or by hour. This varies by client, but the company claims that it is $10-$14 per hour. That's at least 14 hours of work before you break even (and that's not counting the 20 of time you put into your initial training). Plus there's the cost of office equipment or phone lines.
If these were all one-time costs, it might be worthwhile if you worked for Arise for a long period of time. But the fact is, the training fees and unpaid training time recur with each new client. And taxes and fees associated with incorporating a business are annual in many states. And then Arise charges nearly $40 a month in service fees for "the infrastructure that Arise provides." That fee along with the monthly cost of Internet and phone could add up to $140 a month (or 10 hours of work) that must be covered before you realize any profit each month.